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Saturday, 06 September 2008 23:17

Men marry Mom-lookalike, women do same with Dad-twin

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A Hungarian study finds that men usually select a life partner who looks like their mother, and women commonly pick a mate that looks like their father.


The report concludes that heterosexual men and women are more likely to select a mate whose faces are similar to their “opposite-sex” parent. The researchers state that this mate-selecting process is deeply entrenched in biological processes that have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years.

The article “Facial metric similarities mediate mate chose: sexual imprinting on opposite-sex partners” was published on Tuesday, September 2, 2008, in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Its authors are psychologists Tamas Bereczkei, Gabor Hededus, and Gabor Hejnal, all from the Institute of Psychology, University of Pécs, (Pécs, Hungary).

Their research is based on past studies that have shown that preferences on the selection of mates are influenced on “imprinting-like” processes.

The researchers used fourteen facial proportions, such as width of jaw, shape of lips, and distance between brow and mouth, on 312 Hungarian adults within 52 families, where each family included one couple and two sets of parents. They made a model based on these fourteen facial zones.

They then correlated these 14 facial features and compared them between family members and randomly selected pairs of the general population.

The results follow on page two.




They found significant correlations between young men and their female partner’s father (but not mother), especially with respect to the father’s central facial area, such as distance between mouth and brow, height of face, and distance between eyes, and size of nose.

Women were found to show resemblance to their male partner’s mother (but not father), especially concerning the mother’s lower facial area such as width of mouth, fullness of lips, and length and width of jaw.

That state in the abstract to their paper, “Our results support the sexual imprinting hypothesis which states that children shape a mental template of their opposite-sex parents and search for a partner who resembles that perceptual schema. The fact that only the facial metrics of opposite-sex parents showed resemblance to the partner's face tends to rule out the role of familiarity in shaping mating preferences.”

They conclude, "Human couples who are similar in physical and psychological characteristics are more likely to remain together than dissimilar partners, possibly leading to an increase in fertility.” [Health24.com: “Women pick dad lookalikes”]

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